D.C. Councilwoman Mary M. Cheh speaks as the council votes to confirm Peter J. Newsham as new chief of Metropolitan Police at the Wilson Building in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
**FILE** D.C. Councilwoman Mary M. Cheh speaks as the council votes to confirm Peter J. Newsham as new chief of Metropolitan Police at the Wilson Building in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh has floated legislation prohibiting forms of segregated confinement in jails and youth detention facilities.

The Ward 3 Democrat on Monday introduced the Eliminating Restrictive and Segregated Enclosures Solitary Confinement Act of 2022, which would strictly limit the use of safe cells — where residents who could hurt themselves are placed — and require that incarcerated people with mental health emergencies get the care they need, Washington City Paper reported.

The bill also would require the Department of Corrections and the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services to devise a plan to eliminate solitary confinement and to report to the council on the impacts of doing so.

Cheh’s bill was co-introduced by Council members Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), Janeese Lewis George (D-Ward 4), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) and Robert White (D-At Large).

Cheh has attempted to pass this bill in some form during past council periods.

“Studies have shown that solitary confinement has many negative effects, including increased risk of addiction, recidivism, and suicide,” she said. “I am proud to continue my previous work on this issue by moving the District forward and severely limiting the instances in which solitary confinement can be used.”

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